Tennis

Federer leads Switzerland into Hopman Cup final

World No. 2 leads Switzerland into Hopman Cup final

Roger Federer stepped up his preparations for the Australian Open by helping Switzerland defeat United States 3-0 yesterday to reach the final of the mixed-team Hopman Cup.

In front of a record Perth Arena crowd of 14,029, the 36-year-old overcame Jack Sock 7-6(7/5), 7-5 in the men's singles.

Belinda Bencic then secured the Swiss victory with a 7-6(7/6), 6-4 win over CoCo Vandeweghe, before partnering Federer in a 4-3(5/3), 4-2 win over Sock and Vandeweghe in the dead-rubber mixed doubles.

In the men's singles, Federer opened up a 4-1 lead in the tiebreaker of an evenly matched first set, but Sock levelled at 4-4 with a flurry of powerful drives. Federer then took control, producing a neat backhand volley to close out the first set.

The second set went with serve up to 4-4 before Sock missed an opportunity to break.

The American world No. 8 then double-faulted at 5-5 as Federer pounced to snatch a decisive break and went on to seal the win.

"I've maintained a high level in all three matches, which is a great thing," Federer said.

"This was another step up in terms of ranking and I thought it was a very entertaining match for both of us... I thought it was a good step forward."

I’ve maintained a high level in all three matches, which is a great thing. Roger Federer, on his Hopman Cup form

The 19-time Grand Slam champion looks to be in good shape going into his title defence at the Australian Open, which starts on Jan 15.

Group B winners Switzerland will face the winner of Group A in tomorrow's Hopman Cup final, with Germany, Belgium and Australia all capable of sealing top spot.

Earlier, Naomi Osaka ground out a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova but Japan failed to capitalise on the early advantage as they lost 2-1 to Russia.

Karen Khachanov thumped Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 6-2, before teaming up with Pavlyuchenkova to beat the pair of Sugita and Osaka 4-1, 4-0 in the mixed-doubles rubber. - REUTERS

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